When It’s Mom Who Goes to College

Christina Hoag
Plutonian Publication
4 min readMay 15, 2017

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Photo by Good Free Photos on Unsplash

I glanced around the crowd in the gym where Ramapo College was holding its graduation ceremony. The bleachers were full of beaming moms and dads clicking their cameras, eagerly seeking the familiar young faces that belonged to them in the lineup of grads below. My sister, brother and I shifted in our seats, looking at each other and feeling slightly out of element in our role reversal. We were there for our mom, who was graduating college at age 51.

When it was her turn to cross the stage and accept her diploma, we cheered as boisterously as any other group of family and friends. She deserved it. Arriving at that moment had been a journey of setbacks followed by moving on; a lesson in resiliency and perseverance for us all.

Mom had been a stay-at-home mom, or “domestic engineer” as she liked to call herself, raising three children for more than 17 years when my father left her for a woman who was closer to his daughters’ age than his own and decided to start a new family — a tale so resoundingly familiar it sounds clichéd, except when your family has to live through it.

Mom was a nurse in her native England before she married and quit her career to have children and follow my father, an executive for a multinational company, around the world. In Britain, as in many countries throughout the world, professions such as nursing and…

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Christina Hoag
Plutonian Publication

Journalist, novelist, world traveller. Author of novels Law of the Jungle, Skin of Tattoos and Girl on the Brink. Ex Latin America foreign correspondent.